Culture Speaks Quietly – A Story

A lovely story from the Founder of Huit Denim, David Hieatt.

As a kid, my dad told me about the companies he had worked for as an electrician in the Merchant Navy.
There was only one he loved.
He told me stories about them that made them stand out.
Like after a long flight, they would give him a rest day in a nice hotel.
So, he could get used to the time difference, and see a bit of the city.
Then when he joined the ship, he felt ready to do business.
It was a small thing. But no other shipping company did it.
I suspect a human was involved somewhere in that idea.
When he showed me the silver coin that they gave him for good service, he was so proud to have worked for them.
In that moment, I decided I wanted to run a company like that.
I wanted to create a space for people to do their best work.
To be treated well.
Of course, I have made many mistakes along the way.
But, with some honest reflection, mistakes make you better.
Here’s some of my learning.
Perks ain’t culture.
It’s not a coffee machine. (Damn – I love a good coffee.)
It’s not M&Ms in reception.
It’s rarely something that is bought.
But if it shows thoughtfulness, it can be.
• Culture is sticking to the mission, no matter what.
• Culture is all the things you did to get your team to trust you.
• Culture is creating a place where people can grow.
• Culture is not found in a brand book, but in everyday actions.
What you do is who you are.

Shout quietly.
Not every good thing that you do has to be shouted about.
When you help someone on the team, they know.
It’s enough.
The world doesn’t need to know.
Doing the right thing when only that person knows, builds trust.
Then when you help others on the team, it builds trust with them too.
One by one. Go slow.
Culture is invisible and yet so obvious.
It is the sum of what you do to look after your people.
Culture builds the team.
Trust builds the culture.
But remember, you can’t create the magic, just the space for the magic to happen.
That is all you can do.
But it’s enough.
Best from the west,

David Hieatt

P.S. Which company did you love working at? And why?


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